Acoustic Sounds
By: Michael Fremer

March 4th, 2024


Editor's Choice

A Year With KLAUDIO's KD-CLN-LP200T Ultrasonic Record Cleaner

it's been a very clean year

About a year has passed since publication of the KLAUDIO ultrasonic cleaning machine review so now's a good time to tell you how it's been working and how well it cleans records. Also, this is a good time to again cover some basics because there's so much online nonsense and misinformation, though it's also true that well-informed opinions sometimes differ.

This machine has had, as you can imagine, a great deal of use. Daily use. Not "industrial strength" use—I don't run a record store—but still a lot of spins. It has been 100% reliable and not in need of any maintenance other than occasionally changing the water and once so far, changing the inexpensive ($6.99) filter.

If you look at the comments under that review there's a great deal of useful and some contradictory information regarding transducer frequency and power and what's best. I'm not going to get into that here. You can read that there.

But I will add that if you're going to fan-dry a record, which the KL does, do not use a surfactant, or any kind of detergent because it's just going to be dried onto the record and leave a coating. Also, don't put really dirty records in this or any tank type machine. Surface dirt should be pre-cleaned with something like the Orbitrac (back in production) or a SpinClean if you have one.

My experience with this machine with no additives and just plain reverse osmosis water is that it does an amazing job not only cleaning but removing pops and clicks on many records that have had them for years (sometimes decades). The records come out quiet and shiny. And I've not experienced any groove damage or heard any post-cleaning high frequency loss.

I also clean new records using a two minute cycle because new records are usually pretty dirty and/or dusty. It's just the reality of pressing plant life. I've also experienced impossible to remove fingerprints on the lead out groove area of some older records. They appear 'baked in' and only physical scrubbing can remove them and even then some don't budge but given where they appear and since they don't move, who cares? Normal "oily" finger prints do disappear.

Yes, this machine is costly, but its build quality is unsurpassed. If you can afford it, you will not regret the purchase. I've heard back from many buyers who all agree except for one who was bothered by the inner groove fingerprint. I'd tell him to get a life but he's got quite an amazing one, so i didn't!

Dry-only and wash-only cycles are available and you can independently set both wash and dry times up to five minutes each. I like the external water reservoir.

When you're ready to change the water—it's so inexpensive I do it more often. I keep a five gallon bucked handy and simply remove the hoses from the machine, pour the water into the bucket, fill the tank up again and dump the bucket into the bathroom sink. A less than five minute operation.

If you can't swing this deal there are less costly machines out there—some, but not all of which will do a good job including the Kirmuss, which I also own and use for 'record restoration' (and it works) but be careful with "recommended" surfactants and be mindful of frequency, wattage and generated heat. Especially be cautious with online recommendations from people who proclaim their expertise and offer you home brew cleaning fluids and methods. Also, I'd be careful about "experimenting" with home brew fluids in any cavitation based machine.

KLAUDIO has a cooling accessory for "industrial" users but i've never had an issue with temperature because I'm not a "serial cleaner". I'll do a few records at a time MAX and why do it any other way? What's great about the machine is its ease of use, there not being any detergents in the water, and how easy it is to dump the water and start over for a few dollars.

People who comment that their vacuum-based machines are 'good enough' or 'as good' simply haven't experienced what proper cavitation can do for record cleaning. The quiet is amazing. As is this machine


  • 2024-03-04 07:45:57 PM

    Jeffrey C. Robbins wrote:

    Thanks for this update, Michael. I acquired the Humminguru cavitation cleaner. I would really be interested in your review of it, as I have found it to work well at a fraction of the price of the very fine Klaudio unit you successfully use. JCR

  • 2024-03-04 08:16:07 PM

    Enrique wrote:

    I have had one for 1 year, and it has operated flawless... I have cleaned some 1,500 records as I did a cleaning and re-sleeving of my collection, and it worked almost perfectly. I had some issue with overheating during summer, as I live in SoCal, and I was cleaning too many records in sequence. I just led it cool down, and continue... I did not want to invest in the cooling solution... Very happy with it. As Michael indicated in his review, it is not cheap, but it is worth it every penny. Enrique

  • 2024-03-04 09:02:12 PM

    Come on wrote:

    Re vacuum vs. cavitation: Although this is (or was, as it’s discontinued) not a typical vacuum machine…but there are extremely experienced folks who are familiar with even better/more expensive custom assembled cavitation machines than the market available ones, who think the Hannl Mera pro with the rotary brush is superior to cavitation based ones. Did you ever try this one?

    • 2024-03-07 04:10:19 PM

      Michael Fremer wrote:

      Have not tried. I'm still convinced cavitation is best but always open to try others

  • 2024-03-04 09:53:49 PM

    PeterG wrote:

    Nice follow up--I am Degritter with Spin Clean for the extra gnarly, and I concur--there is nothing quite like ultrasonic, it can have an amazing effect on many records.

    But I think this ultrasonic vs vacuum is a misplaced rivalry. Ultrasonic cavitation is best in the microscopic inner groove. Others are best at heavy crud on top. These are two different operations. Klaudio's competition is Degritter and Humminguru. Vacuum's is Spin Clean, other nonultrasonic machines, and hand wash. Pick one from each category and you're good!

    • 2024-03-04 11:33:48 PM

      Come on wrote:

      Both is always good! And I think your description of microscopic vs. „on top“ is valid for all normal vacuum machines with fix brushes. Most use their machines for mostly new records only, therefore the concept doesn’t matter anyway. For used, problematic records, my experience is, the feasible duration of wet cleaning in cavitation machines is mostly too short to reach the best result and that it needs at least two different frequencies and bubble sizes with respective energy to remove micro and macro dirt.

    • 2024-03-07 04:10:43 PM

      Michael Fremer wrote:

      I agree.

  • 2024-03-04 10:40:23 PM

    tim davis wrote:

    I wish I could afford one. It sounds like the way to go. Since I can't, in case there are others reading this who are also a bit strapped for cash, here's how I clean records in my financially challenged world. 1st, I run any used record through a Spin Clean without using their cleaning fluid. Instead I use a solution of steam distilled water & 10 drops per batch of Tergikleen. After that I dry the record on a Record Doctor IV manual unit. After that I put the record in a DIY ultrasonic rig I assembled with a China sourced 40khz cavitation jewelry cleaner tank that I mounted with a very low cost BBQ rotisserie grill turning motor on the side to rotate the records. The ultrasonic tank is filled with more steam distilled water with a bit of lab grade alcohol added just in case I missed anything earlier. After that it goes back on the Record Doctor IV for drying but not before I give the vacuum velour strip on the R.D. a good scrubbing with a denture brush while the vacuum motor is engaged. The total cost of my setup is around 600 dollars US. Mind you I didn't do it all at once. I started with the Record Doctor with Michael's highly recommended Orbitrac that he totally sold me on back in the late 90s through his previous endeavor if memory serves me correctly & then a few years later got the Spin Clean & then 3 years after that put together the DIY Ultrasonic. The experience I had that I want to impress upon anyone reading this is simply this; adding the Ultrasonic step to my cleaning regimen gave me cleaner, quiter records than I had before as I went back & put previous problematic used records through the new part of the system only to get even more quiter playback on an average of 8 out of 10 attempts. Sometimes with used records there are vinyl surface issues you just can't fix. Be it due to previous owners drunken parties or folks that did not understand that styli wear out & were content to tape coins to the top of their tonearm to stop that annoying skipping effect (shriek!! oh the horror!!) .....

  • 2024-03-04 10:52:50 PM

    Ivan Bacon wrote:

    I always love your thoughts, (you serial pontificate-r) i bought the Kurmuss on your recommendation. I got to the end of the article and thought, where is the This is what i learned this is how effective it was etc. Then i re-read and found the closing paragraph up in in the middle.

    "My experience with this machine with no additives and just plain reverse osmosis water is that it does an amazing job not only cleaning but removing pops and clicks on many records that have had them for years (sometimes decades). The records come out quiet and shiny. And I've not experienced any groove damage or heard any post-cleaning high frequency loss. "

    P.S. A little buyers remorse on the kirmuss because i was unaware of the unnecessarily high cost of the cleaning fluid. $10.00 an once. really? Whats in it, unicorn urine?

    • 2024-03-07 04:14:14 PM

      Michael Fremer wrote:

      You can use the Kirmuss as an ultrasonic cavitation machine with just plain water and/or add the 40mL of alcohol to kill fungus. The restoration process using the other fluid that's designed to change the charge on the record to better attract water is not necessary. As for what it costs and why, Kirmuss explained that under my origin review some time ago. Just use the Kirmuss with water for a two or 3 minute cycle and hand dry..with microfiber cloth

  • 2024-03-04 11:26:41 PM

    Jim Shue wrote:

    The KLAudio machine is so good I scored a second one last year for my multistage cleaning process (based on the The Tracking Angle Issue #3 (1995) OG Michael Wayne record cleaning regimen. I had a DeGritter and sold it on - the KLAudio is in a whole other league. As for the other machines like the Kirmuss and others - get real. Toys by comparison. Also the Kirmuss schtick is played out imo - someone tell him the white lab coat deal was already done to death by Matthew Polk in the early 1980s.

    Yes, the KLAudio cost is high but if you have a serious record collection, not really. Also Chad and the team at Acoustic Sounds have ALWAYS been a pleasure to do business with and not a white lab coat to be seen. ;-)

    • 2024-03-07 04:15:33 PM

      Michael Fremer wrote:

      Yes the lab coat is "shtick" but his process of changing the charge on the record to further improve cavitation is not "shtick"..

      • 2024-03-07 09:17:28 PM

        Jim Shue wrote:

        Michael - Kirmuss is his own worst enemy - the white lab coat schtick is a low rent appeal to authority. Polk should sue LOL! Ditch the BS and maybe invest some money into a real machine - not rebranded Chinese junk with a plastic top hat. In any case the KLAudio is to the Kirmuss what the Monolith was to the Apes in 2001.

  • 2024-03-05 03:35:31 AM

    oldlistener2222 wrote:

    I've got the earlier version and it's been trouble free, does a fine job when combined with a manual pre-clean. Forget the Humminguru and other cheapo Chinese "cavitation" machines advertised online. They are toys compared to a proper cleaning machine.

    • 2024-03-06 10:15:11 PM

      Mtglass wrote:

      Have you tried the Guru?

    • 2024-03-10 07:23:32 PM

      HiFiMark wrote:

      Most of this thread is constructive, some of it is a pissing match. I added a HumminGuru to my very thorough soak / scrub / vacuum regimen to great improvement. Can't bring myself to spend the kind of money demanded for these higher end machines though I have no doubt they up the results.

      In the mean time, how about this: whether you spend $500 or $5000 to. clean. records. (think about that), how about doubling that amount and giving the rest away to feed / clothe / house helpless children or elderly in the world.

  • 2024-03-05 10:23:33 AM

    cracking resonance wrote:

    I’m sorry, your guidance varies over and over and over. Last time, KLAUDIO was already around and Kirmuss was the best. Now it’s KLAUDIO. For the same reason, it’s cavitational. One moment, wasn’t the Kirmuss the declared one and only cavitational record cleaner, all others be shampooers? Don’t use Spin-Clean and suckers, now: use them for dirt cleaning. Never was the Clearaudio big machine tested (non cavitational, but with unique approach). To me this sounds like a big marketing game, backed by a lot of physics and where it matters the physics are spinned to the target marketing message with or without lab coat. Not saying it’s lies, but equally not substantially backed and tested end2end. You know what we’re all looking for. We’re not opening a washing business. We just want to listen to our records in the 1. best effort plus sweet spot or in the 2. Maximum every quality, some in the 3. Cheap but does it. I think clear messaging and well scientifically tested (not just used) Programm can determine: A) spinner, sucker, cavitator, brusher levels of cleaning quality with determined process B) best sucking system by cleaning result. C) best cavitation machine by cleaning result. D) best brushing by cleaning result E) optional accessories with equally scientifically tested cleaning result F) What is for what dirt type? Is it machine, process or cleaning fluid caused, mainly?

    … Without all this confusion will continue, likely with such test, too, but at least there’s a baseline. I wonder if the industry is actually happyer with the current confusion rather than claifying what is bloated crap.

    • 2024-03-05 11:10:21 PM

      Jim Shue wrote:

      " I’m sorry, your guidance varies over and over and over. "

      No it doesn't - Fremer's guidance has been on top of available record cleaning solutions since 1996. As for ClearAudio machines I owned one before the DeGritter and it was so so - better than the VPI 16.5 it replaced but who cares - the KLAudio blows away all of these toys. If you don't like what TrackingAngle is serving up - go elsewhere.

      • 2024-03-06 12:09:28 AM

        Come on wrote:

        I’m sure the Klaudio is very good! Just from theory (as far as I understood it), I think I’d prefer a machine with 2 or more different, varying ultrasonic frequencies. As the small bubbles are the ones going deep into the grooves but with comparable little energy, they don’t catch heavier dirt, which bigger bubbles do as they have more burst energy. Not sure if there is one commercially available already or if the Klaudio uses this feature, but it might be interesting to compare the upcoming 2 frequency use Degritter which was shown as a prototype at the one or other show already.

    • 2024-03-07 04:17:51 PM

      Michael Fremer wrote:

      you are at best mischaracterized what I've written over the years. I never said Kirmuss was 'best'. I try to avoid that kind of thing. And I positively reviewed the Spin-Clean! I'll say this for Kirmuss, lab coat or not, he backs up his results with on the spot measurements...

  • 2024-03-06 01:46:01 AM

    Michael Tuohy wrote:

    A Degritter user here. My first gen machine failed after 500 cycles or so. Sent to Estonia. Got it back and it lasted about 150 cycles. Sent it back AGAIN! I decided to upgrade to MK2. Cost me $1700. Now I have a $4800 machine that has worked well for about 150 cycles. Cleans incredibly well! I just hope it lasts!

    • 2024-03-06 10:15:09 AM

      Come on wrote:

      Doesn’t sound good, but I guess we generally just begin to experience the reliability of cavitation based cleaners. I personally would just feel good (regardless of the concept) if the necessary exchange parts are available independent of the existence of the original manufacturer. Most of us would probably prefer to use such a unit for many years.

      • 2024-03-06 07:10:42 PM

        tim davis wrote:

        Hey, Come on! Go look at my post in the comments section if you haven't already. My experience is that friction based record cleaning methods, & vacuum cleaning solutions, & cavitation based options can all exist together. There is no need to choose betweeen the logics of A is better than B or C is better than both. Based on every used record I've cleaned since 1995 I believe using all 3 cleaning methods to get the job done works better moreso than relying solely on any single option. What I would like to hear from you now (based on your comments) is simply this, what is your method for cleaning & why do you believe it trumps all other methods. Specifically, what were the 2 cavitation oscillations you found that provided your stated results from "the feasible duration of wet cleaning in cavitation machines is mostly too short to reach the best result and that it needs at least two different frequencies and bubble sizes with respective energy to remove micro and macro dirt." What were the cavitation frequencies you found to work best & (if said knowledge is available to the general public) what commercially available products currently utilize them? Cuz, you know, we'd all like to get our old used records as clean as yours so that hopefully one day we can enjoy them ourselves as much as you enjoy listening to your records. If said info is proprietary or otherwise unavailable, no biggie, nevermind. Hope you have a nice day anyways.

        • 2024-03-06 09:16:27 PM

          Come on wrote:

          Regarding coexistence, I think the same. I currently have an early Degritter and a Mera pro and access to a much better than off the shelf one, a custom assembled cavitation cleaner of a friend. . In contradiction to your writing, I’m sure you got, that… …I didn’t write that I have the best cleaning …I didn’t write, that one concept is better throughout than the other …I wrote that the combined bubble assumption is a theory what should be best, not an existing market available machine yet (but the generally different advantages of different frequencies/bubble sizes are commonly undisputed, I think you’ll agree) . . Now my experience (ignoring the rhetoric s in your questions ;-) :

          my experience is, that for new, more or less quiet records the method doesn’t matter. For just slightly noisy records, cavitation achieves sufficient cleaning the fastest, but both concepts do if one has a very good non cavitation cleaner. For more deeply contaminated used records my experience is, that cavitation machines beat fixed brush suckers, but rotary drum cleaners (using longer washing cycles) beat even the best cavitation machines I know so far. Cheers.

          • 2024-03-07 09:34:19 AM

            tim davis wrote:

            Thank you for the clarification. I believe I may have been projecting a bit (my apologies) in my query to you after recent experiences with a local used record store proprietor who told me that the "best" way to clean used records is cotton balls dipped in drugstore strength isopropyl alcohol & and a hair dryer. I really do want to learn what a complimentray cavitation frequency for my 40khz tank would be as I wish to build a 2nd DIY unit so that I no longer run the records from the Spin Clean cycle through the same cavitated water before & after the Record Doctor.

  • 2024-03-07 02:12:56 PM

    Eugene Harrington wrote:

    I have been using the original KLAUDIO RCM since December 8th, 2014. I always combine a prior wet cleaning and rinse using my VPI RCM before I use the KLAUDIO. I think it is best, for me at least, to keep the dirt and crud that adheres to vinyl records away from the Ultrasonic machine. In that way, it can really get to work on the 'tough stuff' such as pressing plant residues, mould release agents and so on. It is quite simply a remarkable machine! I haven't seen the current iteration in the flesh, yet. It costs about €7,600 here in Europe. Maybe somebody will have one at High End in Munich, Germany in May? I have the cleanest vinyl replay that previously I could only dream about. It really shows how great vinyl can sound once it is thoroughly clean. Noise levels, if they even exist, match those of CDs, once I put a record through my process. In other words, there is no noise unless you have defective, damaged or poorly pressed records. And even in the case of the latter, it is mesmerising how noise is somehow banished once you use the KLAUDIO. This machine has rejuvenated, revitalised and brought the very best out of my vinyl collection. I could not imagine life without it, it really is that good! I just noticed very recently that KLAUDIO has made available replacement belts etc. for my unit at a very affordable cost. The trouble is finding somebody who can competently service this machine. I really do want to have to send it to South Korea or to the U.S.A. I live in Ireland.